Beijing (AsiaNews) – Missing for over two months nine protestant leaders “re-appeared” a few days ago in Chinese forced labour camps. Among them, Li Mei, 42, confined to a hospital bed and forced to undergo an emergency hysterectomy, as a result of the torture she has been subjected to in prison.
The report has been carried by China Aid Association (Caa), a non governmental organisation based in the United States which campaigns for religious freedom in China, who has published the accounts of the nine Christian’s families. According to the relatives, in fact the 9 leaders were detained on July 15 when they were found having Sunday worship service together at a home. The sentence was passed on August 6th: according to the administrative courts of Enshizhou, in Hebei, the Christians are guilty of “engaging in organizing and making use of evil cult organization to undermine the enforcement of State laws”. No-one warned relatives of the arrest and sentencing.
Destined to “re-education through work”, the Protestants were transferred to provincial laogai [forced labour camps ndr]. The document formalising the accusations reads: “evidence of their crimes includes singing Christian hymns to the villagers and showing Jesus film in a nursing home and praying for the disabled elderly men for healing from God”.
Beijing allows the practice of Evangelical Christianity only within the Movement of the Three Autonomies (MTA), born in 1950 following Mao’s taking power, and the expulsion of foreign missionaries and the reclusion of Chinese Church leaders. Official statistics say that there are 10 million official Protestants all members of the MTA. Unofficial Protestants, who meet in non-registered “domestic churches”, are estimated to be more than 50 million. Last year alone the government arrested 1958 pastors and faithful of the unofficial protestant Churches.